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International Refugee Organisation (Displaced Persons)

Volume 440: debated on Tuesday 22 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that, although the commission constituting the I.R.O. is composed of representatives of all the democratic States and all expenses are paid by them, the commission in its operations is restricting assistance to displaced persons, favoured by States who make no contribution; and if he will investigate 1he position, in the light of the evidence submitted to him, and instruct the British representatives to take the appropriate action to prevent discrimination.

There is no reason for believing that the Preparatory Commission of the International Refugee Organisation is restricting or will restrict its assistance to persons favoured by nonmember States. On the contrary, certain non-member States opposed the International Refugee Organisation Constitution because they objected to its provisions for assisting those of their nationals or alleged nationals who are unwilling to accept repatriation. These provisions are contained in a clause of the Constitution which states that a person is eligible for assistance as a refugee who "… is outside the country of nationality or former habitual residence and who as a result of events subsequent to the outbreak of the Second World War is unable or unwilling to avail himself of the protection of the Government of his country of nationality or former nationality."

His Majesty's Government are, nevertheless, prepared to advocate the amendment of any clause of the International Refugee Organisation Constitution which may be found in practice to have a discriminatory effect.